To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with other European Union member states about scaling up the resettlement programme for refugees displaced by fighting in Syria and Iraq; and what is their policy in regard to applications for asylum from displaced Yezidis and Christians from those countries.
27 October 2014
The Government believes that humanitarian aid and actively seeking to end the conflicts in Syria and Iraq are the most effective ways for the UK to help the majority of refugees, rather than increasing resettlement. We have made our position on this clear in relevant discussions with other EU Member States and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We are aware that EU Member States have responded to the crises in different ways; it is right that the international community should consider all available means to relieve the suffering of the Syrian and Iraqi peoples. However, the UK’s overall contribution stands comparison with any in the world.
To date we have committed £700 million to the Syrian relief effort, making us the second largest bilateral donor after the USA, and £23 million in aid to Iraq. UK funding is helping hundred of thousands of refugees; compared with aid, resettlement can only ever support a comparatively small number of people in need. We also support efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict, and we are working with the Iraqi government and the international community to tackle the threat posed by IS and promote an inclusive, sovereign and democratic Iraq which will protect all Iraqi citizens.
To complement our humanitarian aid, we operate the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme to relocate to the UK the most vulnerable displaced Syrians who cannot be supported effectively in the long term in the region. In addition, the Government carefully considers each asylum application lodged in the UK, including those made by Syrian and Iraqi nationals on the grounds of religious persecution, on its individual merits, to ensure we grant protection to those who genuinely need it.